In a charming article published in the number of April 2015 of the monthly newspaper of italian national importance “Storia in Rete”, my dear friend Patrizia Deabate, literary researcher of Piedmont Studies Center of Turin, originally from the City of Alba, has unveiled the backstory behind the story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (1922), by the legendary american writer Francis Scott Fitzgerald.
The topic of the essay is the possible beginning of a dispute between Italy and the USA, equivalent and probably superior, in importance, to the recognition of the paternity of the invention of the telephone, which occurred definitively on June 11, 2002, the day when, on the US Congress decision, Antonio Meucci was proclaimed sole inventor of the device after more than a century.
Supporters of the same Meucci and of Alexander Graham Bell have debated between them for decades, raising clenched controversy and confrontations even in court.
The article by Patrizia is the prelude to the forthcoming publication of a book by the contents at least “scorching” and risks triggering a similar conflict, which will definitely have unpredictable developments and international in scope.
The question is very simple: who was the first creator of the Benjamin Button character and his so-called “Life on the contrary”?
Since 2008, year of release of the eponymous film with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in movie theaters, the authoritative voices who came to support the strong analogy between the story of Fitzgerald, the main source of the cinematographic work directed by the film director David Fincher, and “Pipino nato vecchio e morto bambino” (1911), by the twilight poet of Turin Giulio Gianelli, were not a few.
Gianelli born in 1879, Fitzgerald in 1896. The first died in 1914, the second in 1940.
Between the two publications: “Pipino”, of 1911, and “Benjamin Button”, of 1922, there have elapsed just 11 years and many of the users of both are the first to declare that the contents of the second work, the american one, appear rich in references to the first, not to mention the clear mirror of the two characters.
According to Patrizia, these analogies are intertwined hand in glove to the cultural and artistic relations between Italy and the USA of the beginning of ‘900.
These are all elements of a great historical, artistic and literary puzzle that help to demonstrate how, in those years, from Italy to Hollywood, it started not only the international success of italian silent cinema, but also the possible link between the two characters from life on the contrary.
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